Adobe has purchased marketing automation business Marketo for $4.75 billion. This deal, which leaves Adobe with only $5 bilion in the bank sets up an interesting battle for complete enterprise package supremacy between Adobe and Salesforce.
For years, Adobe has been the ‘no brainer’ software for the creative professional. With Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and others, it’s Creative Suite has become the standard package for graphic design, content creation and even physical book publishing. With the purchase of e-commerce platform Magento, and an expansion of it’s ‘marketing cloud,’ group of applications, Adobe set the tone for a new direction and a more complete business package. Now, companies had the opportunity to keep all their enterprise marketing systems in one place, a lot like Salesforce.
Now, with Marketo coming into the Adobe family, there is a complete digital infrastructure from which companies can pick and choose. With brand name businesses occupying positions within Adobe’s infrastructure, there will also be a large amount of momentum – including more than 5000 Marketo customers. This means that Adobe’s point of entry can start with a student downloading Photoshop for the first time, or a Chief Marketing Officer electing to use the entire Adobe system as part of their in house infrastructure.
Salesforce will have an interesting battle on their hands, especially because of the quality of Adobe’s offering. Previous to the latest purchases, Adobe had attempted to build it’s own systems, with mixed results. Spending some of the available cash on established businesses and leveraging their reputations, technology and senior management (Adobe has brought over many senior staff members from both Magento and Marketo) means that there is a real and meaningful system already in place. It will be interesting to see the financials over the next quarter, and see whether the market is excited by this new ‘complete’ offering, or if a bunch of companies glued together isn’t seen an syncronistic.